Side by Side

Support groups for people bereaved by suicide

Our Side by Side support groups will give you the opportunity on Zoom to meet others in Cumbria who have lost someone to suicide and share your experiences and feelings.

Each support group is run by two trained facilitators from Every Life Matters and the groups run once a week over six consecutive weeks, with each session lasting for 90 minutes. There are a maximum of seven participants in each group and sessions are free of charge. You may attend our support groups even if you are already receiving other types of support from us or other organisations.

We suggest you join a group where you can attend at least five of the six sessions to help you get the most out of the experience. ​Please note that all participants must be able to attend the first session.

To register your interest in joining a Side by Side group on Zoom, please visit our ‘Register’ page.

Our Side by Side groups are based on the Facing the Future service developed by Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Support to help support people who have been bereaved by suicide. Our group facilitators have been trained by Samaritans and Cruse to run these group in Cumbria.

What are the groups like?

Below are two short videos explaining what Side by Side groups are like. The top video is by Rosie, a Samaritans facilitator, with the bottom one by David, a former participant. 

Benefits of attending the groups

People who are grieving because of suicide can feel very alone, suffering from a kind of loss they feel others may not understand. Even with supportive family and friends, participants find it helpful to talk with others who have experienced a similar loss. Participants have told us how helpful it has been to be in a safe environment with people dealing exclusively with the same issue.    

Participants tell us they feel safe in the group. They’re free to express themselves with others who are also grieving as a result of suicide.    

The group supports one another to come to conclusions that often lead to acceptance and increased hope for facing the future. Everyone who has taken part in a group has said they would recommend groups to others.  

Participants feel they are listened to in a respectful environment. Even when people are sharing things they may never have said out loud before, there is a non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere.   

You must be over 18 to join a group and have lost someone to suicide over three months ago. Many people experience shock when they lose someone and it can take several months before they are able to share their experiences and hear the experiences of others in a group setting.

Each group will include people with differing experiences, circumstances, backgrounds and relationship to the person who has died.

Experience shows that people get the most out of the sessions if they don’t know their fellow group members before the group starts. This means it’s not possible to participate in a support group with a family member or friend.

You can register your interest in attending our support groups by completing the online form on the ‘Register’ page. 

For more information about Side by Side, please take a look at our FAQs below. Alternatively you can email us at or call 07588 016 166 and leave a message. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can attend the groups? Are there any restrictions?

Anyone over the age of 18 can register to attend a Facing the Future support group. 

However, you must have been bereaved by suicide for more than three months when the group starts. This is because we know that people may still be experiencing a high level of shock before this and find they’re unable to share their feelings or are too upset to be able to listen to the experiences of others. In order to get the most out of the group sessions, participants are encouraged to talk about their experiences and feelings.

Aside from this, the groups are open to people no matter how long ago they were bereaved and we know people who lost someone over 10- years ago have still found them useful.

What happens after I register? How committed am I at this point?

Will the people facilitating the group know how I feel? Have they lost someone to suicide as well?

Is what I say in the group private?

Can I attend a group on behalf of someone else?

Can I bring a friend with me?

I and a family member/friend have both been bereaved by suicide. Can we attend the same group?

My group doesn’t begin for a while. Is there anyone I can speak to now?

Can I join a group half way through?

What if I can’t make all of the group sessions?

I am unable to make a group session, who should I contact?

What if I don’t get on with other people in the group?

When the group finishes, what support is there for me?

What do I do if I have a complaint?

Is the service evaluated? How do you know if you are making a difference?